When people think about Yangon (Rangoon), they only think about Shwedagon. Although Myanmar is a land of pagodas, there is more than pagodas in Yangon (Rangoon) to visit. Apart from famous pagodas like Shwedagon, Sule and Nga-htat-gyi, there are many places in Yangon to visit. One of these places worth visiting is Allied War Memorial Cemetry in Htauk-kyant, Mingalardon Township. This is a war cemetry in honor of 27,000 allied soldiers lost their lives in World War 2 in Burma. A beautiful memorial building with beautiful marble columns can be seen on one side, which is a very nice place for photography. Friends, commerades and relatives of those who had fallen pay regular visit to Htauk-kyant war memorial each year. The memorial is open to public daily from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM. There is no entrance fee. Htauk-kyant War Memorial can be reached by taxi from downtown, and takes about one hour drive. Expect to pay around 5,000 to 6,000 kyats for a return trip for taxi. (This can be more expensive, and many taxi drivers might ask around 10,000 kyats).
Hlawgar Wildlife Park is just a few minutes drive from Allied War Memorial Cemetry. The park covers 1650 acres of land and contains a large lake (Hlawgar Lake) that is home to 70 kinds of herbivorous animals and 90 species of birds. A number of migratory birds visit the lake every year, which makes the park and the lake an ideal place for picnics and birdwatchers. Visitors and hire an elephant for a ride, do boating and fishing in the park. The park is open daily and there is a small entrance fees in US$.
The National Museum is another attraction in Myanmar, which house a number of ancient historical treasures. It is situated on Pyay Road (Prome Road), just a few minutes from downtown Yangon. On the first floor, you can see the actual Throne used by Burmese kings of Koneboun Dinesty. Called Sihasana Pa-lin, this throne was brought to England by the British and later returned to Myanmar after its independence. Apart from the throne, the museum house a large collection of royal accessories used by the ancient Burmese kings and queens in various royal ceremonies. It also has a large collection of Myanmar arts, both ancient and modern, ranging from ancient Pyu and Pagan (Bagan) sculptures to modern Myanmar arts. There are also displays of ancient Myanmar life as well as sections on Myanmar culture, life, songs, music and dance. the fourth floor displays the culture of ethnic races of Myanmar. The National Museum is a must for any visitor coming to Myanmar to know Myanmar culture and custom, as well as a brief Myanmar history, albeit an official one. The museum is open from 10 AM to 4 PM, everyday except Myanmar New Year Holidays in April (which indeed is a long holiday of around a week). There is an entrance fees of US$ 5 per person. The taxi from downtown Yangon will cost around 1,000 kyats. Easy to hire a taxi for the return trip so no need to hire the taxi for the whole trip.
Bogyoke Aung San Market is another must go place for a visitor to Myanmar. Although more expensive compared to other places, you can find jewellery, silverware, gold, jade as well as various souvenirs from Myanmar such as paintings, sculptures, bags, clothes and various other products of Myanmar. You can also find money exchanges (although illegal ones) here. One thing to remember here is to use your bargaining skill as the market is very notorious for asking high prices even for locals. Beware of people with good spoken English approaching you offering to help, as they might bring you to shops and try to sell things at excessive prices. Politely decline their offer.
Kandawgyi Park is a newly renovated park not far away from Shwedagon. It contains a mini zoo with a small number of birds and animals. Karawaeik is a Myanmar restaurant, built over the Kandawgyi Lake, in the form of a pair of Hinsa (Hintha) birds, mythical Myanmar birds. You can see beautiful Myanmar arts and crafts in this building. Myanmar dance shows, puppet show and Myanmar orchestra are performed daily at night at Karaweik Restaurant.
If you want to visit the real zoo, Yangon Zoological Garden is just a walking distance from Kandawgyi Garden. It was built in 1906 and home to 59 species of land animals, 63 species of birds and 17 species of birds.
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